Italy admitted today that its suspension of AstraZeneca jabs was a ‘political’ move under pressure from other EU governments, amid fury at the 12 EU states who have called a halt to the shots over unproven fears of blood clots.
Nicola Magrini, the head of Italian medicines regulator AIFA, said politicians had come under pressure to call off the jabs after Germany and France made similar moves in what one Conservative MP described as a ‘Brexit sulk’.
‘We got to the point of a suspension because several European countries, including Germany and France, preferred to interrupt vaccinations… to put them on hold in order to carry out checks. The choice is a political one,’ Magrini said in an interview with La Repubblica.
Fourteen European countries including 12 EU members have now suspended their use of the shots altogether – with Sweden joining the list today – while another five have black-listed specific batches and a handful of governments outside Europe have also pulled the emergency brake.
Health experts in Germany and France have accused their governments of playing politics with the AstraZeneca jab, which is already an unloved choice in Europe after top officials lashed out at the firm in a post-Brexit row over supplies and raised unfounded doubts about its effectiveness.